Providing an invisible boundary where pets learn not to venture into is a more effective way of containing our dogs while giving them the freedom to play. Electric canine fences provide such benefits. Unfortunately, picking the right one may not be really that easy as there are a lot of choices in the market. Thankfully, we’ve devoted our resources in coming up with the 5 best electric dog fences in 2017 so you can start installing one for the safety of your pet.
How Much Does an Electric Fence for Dogs Cost?
Electric dog fences create an invisible barrier between your property and the outside environment. Wires are placed underground or above ground to approximate the boundaries of your property or where you deem off-limits to your dogs and other pets. This is connected to a transmitter or a monitoring device. A separate receiver is embedded in the dog’s collar. If the system is active, every time the dog goes near the electrically-charged invisible fence, it connects with the collar-mounted receiver to deliver an electric charge which startles the dog but never hurt or injure it.
If you do decide to install an electric fencing for dogs, there are certain things that you really have to consider. Typically, you’ll save a lot if you’re going to install it yourself. However, do keep in mind that you will still have to purchase the system and any other extras. Here are the things that you may have to prepare for.
- Invisible Fence with Collar Package
Most manufacturers of canine invisible enclosures provide a complete set that already includes the wiring, a dog collar, and a transmitter. These usually runs anywhere from $100 to about $400, although it’s not unusual to find something cheaper or even more expensive. Know that this does not cover installation yet.
This is greatly dependent on the size of your property or the actual perimeter of the property you may want to enclose. If you purchase an invisible dog fence kit that already comes with wiring, you may want to look at the length of the included wire as it may not be enough to cover your area. If you’re not going to buy a kit, you can expect to pay around $30 to $70 for your wiring, again depending on the length that you need.
- Dog Collar
If you are going to purchase this separately from the system or if you need an additional collar for some of your dogs, receiver collars usually range in price from $15 to $75 with the average at around $50. Most kits come with one or two collars so this should be enough if you only have 1 or 2 dogs at home. However, if you have quite a number of pooches, you may have to purchase additional units for each one of them.
The receivers and transmitters of the system typically run on batteries. As such you are also expected to purchase an appropriate battery charger. As much as possible, don’t get anything without a UL seal. These may save you a lot but they are often at a greater risk for electrical mishaps. You should get a good charger for about $50, although really excellent ones can cost $300 or even more. You may also need to consider the number of units you need to charge at any given time. This should also be factored in your buying decision.
It is a general recommendation that batteries be replaced at least every 4 months; that’s 3 times a year. This can easily translate to around $60 up to $90 per year on a single unit alone. Again, you may choose to go on the ultra-cheap side of things but it may not be a wise investment. It’s always safer to choose a UL-tested and certified battery, too.
- Voltage Meter
While not absolutely necessary, you may also want to invest in a voltage meter to determine or evaluate the electric charge of the system. Depending on the model or brand of the voltage meter, prepare to pay around $5 for the cheapest or $30 for the more expensive ones. Again, don’t forget the UL seal in these products.
- Professional Installation
Like we have already said, you can install the electric fence for dogs yourself or you can get a professional to do it for you. The only downside to hiring a professional is that you can easily shell out anywhere between $900 and $1,300. This is a rather steep price for installing an invisible fence. The good news is that they do it so efficiently that they can have the whole system up and running in just a short period of time. However, it is always best to check and hire someone with a solid background and certification on these systems.
How to Install an Electric Dog Fence
Installing an electric fencing for dogs can be a very fulfilling DIY project if you know what you’re doing. It’s almost similar to erecting a physical enclosure, only this time you will be working with electronic gadgets and gears rather than wood, mortar, or bricks. The good news is that it really is easy to install an electric dog fence. Here’s how.
- Plot your ‘invisible’ boundaries.
It’s always a good idea to plot your ‘boundaries’ on a graphing paper to get an idea of where to place your transmitter as well as the length of wire that you will need. Do take note that property corners must be designed in an arc as doing it at an angle can confuse the electronic transmitter. Additionally, the wire must form a continuous loop from and to the transmitter. Always consider the presence of other electrical fixtures such as electric wires, TV cables, telephone wires, antenna dishes, or even antenna wires. Never run the invisible fence wires along these structures. Also, do not cross power lines.
- Install the transmitter.
An excellent place to install the transmitter in is your garage. It’s dry and provides adequate protection for this sensitive unit from the elements. However, it is important not to install it near your circuit breaker. Additionally, mount your transmitter away from other electronic appliances in your garage. Never install your transmitter in a shed or even your barn as the risk of fire or electric shock is simply too great if the unit gets exposed to the elements. In installing the transmitter, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions to the letter. Also, don’t forget to ground it.
- Lay the wire above ground.
Using your diagram or your plot lay down the wire along your ‘marked’ boundaries. If there are obstacles within your containment area, you can twist the wires together to cancel the signal. This is especially important in working around swimming pools, landscape elements, trees, and other obstacles.
- Connect the wire and turn on the system
Once you’re satisfied with the layout of your wiring, you can now connect the terminals of your boundary wires to your transmitter.
- Test the receiver on the collar.
With the wires still above ground and the system turned on, get the collar receiver and test if it emits a sound, vibrations, or even delivers a shock – depending on the setting that you’ve programmed on the transmitter – once it is within range of your electric fence. Manufacturers often provide adjustable settings in how near your pet can get close to the invisible boundary before it is ‘startled’ by the system. Check if it is working within your set parameters.
- Fix the wire.
Once you’ve ascertained that all of the transmitter, wiring, and receiver are working as planned, you can start fixing the wire in its position. Majority of installers recommend burying the wire about 1 to 3 inches underground. While this is absolutely not necessary, having the wire above-ground can pose some issues later on. If you have a chain-link fence, do not run your boundary wire close to it. If you need to add more wires, make sure that it is of the appropriate size and one that is recommended by the manufacturer. Also, use only wire connectors approved for such a purpose. Always test the connection with the wire connectors on before you fix it with a silicone caulk and electrical tape, once the caulk has dried. If you really have to cross surfaces, you will need to create a trench to put the wire in. Again, you have to check the connection before patching the trench with an appropriate substance.
- Ground the system.
Manufacturers always have recommendations for grounding as several systems have been known to be especially vulnerable to power surges and lightning strikes. Even if your system says it is relatively ‘immune’ from such phenomenon, it is still a lot better to be on the safe side.
Benefits of an Electric Canine Fence
An invisible dog fence is always an excellent choice for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the most common benefits of an electric canine fence.
- It’s cheaper than conventional fences.
Given a ¼ to ½ acre property, installing a wireless dog fence can set you back by about $220, excluding labor. A wired dog fence can be had up and running for only $100 if you decide to do it yourself. Getting a professional will set you back by about $800 or so. A chain link fence, on the other hand, can easily run anywhere between $1,500 and $3,000 if you’re going to do it yourself. Hiring a professional can easily cost you around $4,000 up to $7,500 for the same size of lot. Getting a wooden fence is a bit more expensive. A DIY project can cost up to $4,500. Getting a pro to do it will jack up the price up to $15,000 with $5,000 being the minimum.
Aside from the cost of installation, maintaining and repairing physical enclosures can also be sources of additional expenses. This is especially true for ranch-type wooden fencing as wood doesn’t really bid well against the elements. On the other hand, while you may have to check the integrity of your electrical system from time to time and replace the batteries several times a year, these should not cost you a fortune.
Technically, no matter how you look at it, installing an invisible fence is definitely more cost-effective than a traditional enclosure. It’s a lot easier to install, too.
- It’s more discreet.
Because there are no physical barriers, you can take pride in your elegant landscaping a lot more. You get to enjoy the fantastic views without any obstructions. This can also translate to a much higher value for your home in case you do decide to sell it.
- It makes your pets happy.
This is perhaps one of the real benefits of having an electric fence for dogs. We all know that our pets require plenty of exercise and play time for them to really feel happy, content, and not develop any behavioral issues that are commonly seen in pooches that are caged all their life. Not only are these pets more emotionally stable, they are more agile, stronger, and less prone to the development of canine health conditions, too.
Having an electric fencing for dogs also keeps our pets safe. They can roam around freely in our property without running across the street or even wandering into other people’s backyard or property. Some homeowners are not really that kind when somebody else’s pet wanders into their property. You will also have peace of mind knowing your precious pets are well within the confines of your property.
Invisible canine enclosures can also be an excellent tool for obedience training. At any rate, the versatility of the system far outweighs any concern that you may have.
Underground or Above Ground Electric Fence?
One of the most common questions that potential users of an electric fence for dogs have is related to the placement of the wiring. Let us look at the merits of each one including their drawbacks so you’ll be able to make the right decision as to which method you will observe for your system.
- Above Ground
The obvious advantage of an above ground installation is that it simplifies the whole installation process. You simply stretch your wiring along your preferred route and you’re essentially done. You don’t need to remove anything or even dig a trench to run the wiring through. You can also let nature take its course and let grass and weeds slowly cover it over time.
The drawback, of course, is that it can be an eyesore to your lawn, backyard, or landscape as it doesn’t really look nice to have an electric wire running across your lawn. While it is true that the wire can be covered by grass, if you happen to forget where it is and you start mowing your lawn, there’s a great chance you might hit the wire. If there is no cover, then kids playing in the area can trip on it.
The weaknesses of an above ground wiring installation are undoubtedly the strengths of an underground system. Since the wiring is essentially underground, there are no wires to trip to or even to cut when mowing your lawn. Additionally, people won’t even know you have wires under your property. And it’s safer for kids, too.
The negative? Well, you really have to dig trenches and even purposely modify certain structures in your landscape to accommodate your wiring. This significantly increases the amount of time that you will spend and added complexity in installing the system. And if you’re not really that skilled as a handyman, you’ll more likely to do more damage to your property than you ever hope for.
More and more dog lovers are installing electric fencing for dogs as a matter of keeping up with society’s expectations for them to be responsible dog owners. Invisible enclosure systems are more cost-effective, are easier to install and maintain, and are definitely more beneficial to our dogs’ overall welfare. You can now start installing your own system using any of our 5 best electric dog fences in 2018. You may also like our guide to the best electric dog shock collars.